June 5, 2012
End of an era II: Ford's side of the break-up with Taylor's

Yesterday we told you about the end of the 20-year relationship between two beloved local institutions that do things the old-fashioned way: Taylor's Market and Ford's Hamburgers. Because Ford's is closed Mondays, we didn't catch up with owner Peter Paul Vereschzagin until this morning to get his side of things.

Taylor's, which has supplied beef to Ford's for two decades, was not happy with the way the relationship ended and recently took to Facebook to wish the restaurant luck and say they "hope they are able maintain the same level of quality while using a corporate source for their beef." Some saw the comment as bitter or snide.

Ford's has decided to start getting its beef from Sunflower Market, the grocery chain that just opened in Land Park. Taylor's had been supplying Ford's beef from Lucky Dog, a ranch in Dixon known for its high-quality, naturally raised beef. It's also pricey.

We asked Vereschzagin what prompted the change.

"It's an economic issue," he said. "Sunflower opened up down the street. They sell Harris Ranch beef and it's quite a bit cheaper than Taylor's. It wasn't anything vindictive. It's strictly an economic issue."

When I mentioned that Taylor's owner Danny Johnson said Monday that he would have been willing to work with Ford's on finding the right product at the right price, Vereschzagin's sounded surprised.

"I don't see how," he said. "He raised the price of the beef not too long ago - he raised it 15 percent, but when I read the paper I see that beef went up only 4 or 5 percent. I don't know if he would have been able to work with me on it.

"In the short time we've been with Sunflower, we've saved $600."

As for the Facebook post, Vereschzagin said he wasn't pleased with the wording, but "I don't see any reason to snipe back and forth. It's not something I would rebut. They're all good people at Taylor's. I wish them luck, too."

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.

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